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Antique Treasures

7 tips and tricks to finding your own antique treasure at the flea market

Go to bed early the night before: Getting a good night of sleep is indissociable from a successful day at the flea market. Of course this won’t guarantee that you will find something of your interest that day, but it will undoubtedly help you stay focus on your search.

Show up early at the flea market: “The early bird gets the worm”.  Showing up early at the flea market increases the probability of scoring a great deal. The best things will go first, and you can bet that if it’s beautiful and/or worth something, there will be someone to pick it up! And always try and show up at least 40 minutes ahead of the official opening time: quite often (particularly in the case of open-air flea markets) the market premises are “unofficially” accessible before the general opening, while merchants are still unboxing their wares. This is one of the best time to find hidden gems.

Stay open minded when shopping: If you show up at the flea market with a too specific idea of what you’re looking for, chances are that your mind will be kept busy looking for this specific item. And you will “blindly browse” the stalls, missing on other great opportunities. So, go freestyle! Try and picture what a specific item would look like out of its flea market context. This require some practice and a bit of imagination.

When you found it, grab it: Merely looking at something on a stall is not enough to be considered as way to claim it. If you like it, you must hold it in your hands. This is a way to prevent other people from taking it from you. I’ve even seen people go crazy and take things from other people’s hand! So when you find  something you’re interested in, grab it, hold it firmly, and do not let go!

Know your flea market:  The professional antique dealers and the savvy flea market enthusiast each have their own way of looking for hidden treasures. If the first mostly relies on his educated flair for the rare and valuable, the second can overcome this weakness by “knowing” his flea market & merchants. Maintaining a good relationship with merchants, often means being able to get a sneak preview on his wares before anyone else, and a secure a great price. If you’re not familiar with the flea market you’re visiting, do a quick tour first to get an overview of the place before browsing a stall in details.

Stroll the flea market up and down: This may sound like a cheap tip, but I guarantee that you won’t see the same things from two different perspectives. That’s why it is always wise to stroll at least twice a flea market venue. You might even be surprised how different a market looks like when browsed from a new angle.

Educate yourself: Most flea market & antiques merchants started their career out of passion for antiques, vintage and History. They once were teachers, civil servants, bricklayers, programmers, unemployed or CEOs. Actually, not so many of them had a relative in the business or studied Art History. They decided to take the leap into the antiques world, the day they realized they really were knowledgeable about a specific antiques & vintage related topic. And even those who are considered as the best in their discipline, pursue their self-made education (if you don’t see an antiques dealer haggling or groaning, you’ll see him/her reading a book about antiques). Even if you don’t turn your passion into your business, being knowledgeable about something will be profitable to yourself. This something can be furniture, militaria, crockery, industrial design, designer clothes, vintage accessories, paintings, photography. You name it. Tthere’s something for everyone in the vast antiques & vintage world. Knowledge is power.

Antique treasures can also be found at auctions, yard sales, auction galleries, attics, thrift stores, estate sales, Craigslist, Ebay and garage sales.

9 Tips for finding hidden antique treasures at yard sales

1. Start online the night before. Check out Craigslist or your local news website on Friday night for a list of the weekend’s yard sales.

2. Choose the right neighborhood

3. Pack supplies

4.  Keep an eye out for moving boxes

Moving sales will be your best bet for deals, since those sellers are generally more interested in getting rid of items than in making a buck. Estate sales can have great finds, too, but some are run by pros who are less likely to let an item go for less than it’s fair value.

On the other hand, sales that appear disorganized or hastily thrown together are an indication that the host is in liquidation mode, which can work to your advantage

5. Hit your top sale first

Set an alarm (sales can start as early as 7 a.m.), and arrive at the most-promising sale as soon as it opens its doors. Getting there early insures a better selection and less competition for perennially popular items like jewelry and records.

6.  Inspect everything carefully

7. Broken items can still be valuable

Even if it can’t be repaired, damaged jewelry made with real gold is at least worth the price of the metal, and is typically easy to resell to a jeweler.

8. Your smartphone is your secret weapon

Find an unusual item, but don’t know what it’s worth? A quick search on eBay can give you a sense of an item’s worth. The value of an item at a yard sale should be 25 percent to 50 percent less than what it’s listed for online.

Use your laptop, desktop, tablet or cell phone and enter your antique or collectible into the and find out how much your item is worth instantly! 

9. Everything’s negotiable, but some things aren’t worth it
Part of the thrill of a yard sale is the haggling, and sellers expect some back-and-forth on pricing. Ask how much the item costs. Never say "i'll give you x amount for it", instead say would you take x amount.

Know when to fold um, know when to hold um, know when to buy um, know when to walk away.  Check your own attic.

Use your laptop, desktop, tablet or cell phone and enter your antique or collectible into the and find out how much your item is worth instantly!